Bar stars shake up rivals in shoot-out

May 17, 2002

Kilted bartenders, emulating Tom Cruise's bar-room skills in the film Cocktail , are the stars of the newly launched Strathclyde University student business start-up, Liquid Assets.

The professional bartending and training company is the brainchild of Paul Torrens, a second-year hotel and hospitality management student.

Mr Torrens made a pitch to seasoned entrepreneurs, advisers and investors during a day-long "celebration of entrepreneurship" at Strathclyde, and the company was booked on the spot by one prominent entrepreneur for a party "somewhere in the Mediterranean" in July.

A dozen start-ups, including Handitours, a handheld guidebook device company, and PAL Technologies, which offers healthcare technology solutions, took part in a Wild West shoot-out of business presentations.

They were supervised by entrepreneurs Tom Hunter, who founded Sports Division, and Nelson Gray, founder of Gap Fund Managers.

Liquid Assets created a cocktail in honour of Mr Hunter, whose £5 million donation underpins Strathclyde's Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Students were able to lunch with entrepreneurs and investors, as well as having specialist consultations on financial, legal, banking, technology and sales issues.

Jonathan Levie, the centre's director, said: "The idea was to introduce the students to what it's like to start and grow an enterprise, and perhaps pick up a summer job or a longer-term job. They came from all faculties, undergraduates and postgraduates, and it was also a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to meet students with some spark of enterprise, because that's what they're looking for."

The day was part of Strathclyde's "students into business" programme, sponsored by the Bank of Scotland and Scottish Enterprise.

"Scottish Enterprise sees this programme as a pilot which could be rolled out to other universities in Scotland," Professor Levie said.

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